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Second Avenue Subway: Timeline

From nycsubway.org

The following is an excerpt from a MTA/Transit Museum handout, posted to Usenet by Philip Hom on 8/20/1996, edited by David Pirmann.

1920 Daniel L. Turner of the PSC published the "Proposed Comprehensive Rapid Transit System". It included six new north-south lines including Madison and Third Ave, eight new crosstown lines in Manhattan, extension of the Queens [presumably Flushing El] line and three lines across the Narrows to Staten Island. Later, the IND master plan called for a two phase system: Phase I - Sixth and Eighth Ave lines; Phase II - Second Ave Trunk line.
1922 The Turner papers ware updated in January. Revisions called for a 10th Avenue line in Manhattan, and a Queens Crosstown line. The Second Ave line was revised to be six tracks wide, with a short eight track connection to Queens. The line was to connect with the Grand Concourse branch of IND Phase I, and two tracks continuing under the East River to the Fulton Street line [at the Transit Museum stub]. Price tag $165M.
1925 March: Phase I of the IND subway is underway.
1929 NYC BOT proposes to build the 2nd Avenue line from Houston Street to the Harlem River for a cost of $86M. This includes a turnoff at 34th Street and a 34th Street Crosstown Subway and an East River tunnel to Queens, a turnoff at 63rd Street to connect with the Sixth Avenue line of IND Phase I, and a connection in the Bronx at Morris Park and Lafayette Ave. Later revision has the six track line from uptown branching off as follows: two tracks to 61st Street (instead of 63rd Street), two to Chambers Street, two to the Fulton Street Subway. Cost for the 100 mile Phase II system is $438M. Contracts are expected to be let between 1930 and 1935, with the lines in service 1938-1941. In October, the Wall Street stock market crashes.
1930 February: Public hearing resulted in the system having the 61st Street turnoff dropped and the 34th Street Crosstown to connect to the planned 10th Avenue line. The 2nd Avenue line is expected to be built north from 32nd St. starting in 1931, opening in 1937, and south of 32nd St., starting in 1934, opening in 1940.
1931 Phase I contsruction falls behind. The depression is hurting the city. Cost estimates for Phase I were too low by as much as 100%. Plans for the 2nd Ave. line are postponed. The 2nd Ave. plan was revised, dropping the connection to Fulton Street Brooklyn, instead connecting the line to the Nassau St. loop. New proposed opening date 1948.
1939 Cost of the Second Ave Subway estimated to be $249M.
1944 Second Ave Subway back in the planning stage, with some revision. From Canal Street to 57th Street the line is to be four tracks, with six north of 57th Street (two for a a super express to the Bronx). South of Canal Street would be two tracks. Connections are planned for the lines from the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges. Plans for the 34th St. Crosstown and 10th Avenue line are dropped. Since it was felt that the midtown CBD was too far from Second Ave., the plan now included a turnoff at 57th Street to connect to the Sixth Ave line. The plan also called for a BMT connection in Brooklyn with a major rebuilding of the DeKalb Ave junction. The plan still included a Bronx replacement of the Third Avenue El., with cost estimates of the Manhattan segments at $242M. Planned opening date, 1951.
1947 Subway fares raised 100%, from 5 cents to 10 cents. BOT lost $18M.
1948 BOT lost $30M. BOT requests $300M for rehab and $500M for capital improvements from the Board of Estimate. State legislature does not raise the city's debt limit.
1949 Second Avenue Subway now estimated at $504M. Queens residents promise not to approve the bond issue until promises are made for subway service improvements in Queens borough. The new R11 "million dollar train" is unveiled as the prototype train for the 2nd Avenue Subway.
1950 2nd Avenue plan revised to include a two-track turnoff at 7th Street, to 34th Avenue in Queens. A new subway under Northern Boulevard would connect to the LIRR line to the Rockaways. This plan cost $118M, of which $63M would come from deferring construction of the other part of the Second Avenue trunk line. The Korean War starts, driving up material costs.
1951 Bond issue for $500M is approved in November. Construction is to resume with 1957 or 1958 start of operation.
1956 Feb 16 - Third Ave El came down.
1957 Charles L. Patterson uses most of the $500M bond issue for improvements to the current system, leaving only $112M for the Second Ave Subway. The New York Times reports on Jan 17, 1957 (page 1): "It is highly improbable that the Second Ave Subway will ever materialize." In March, a formal hearing is held to probe the use of funds meant for new construction. Patterson defends his right to spend the bond money on system improvement.
1959 As backlash for the transit bond issue, a bond issue for construction of new schools was soundly defeated by the voters of the State of New York.
1963 A 76th Street tunnel is proposed to connect with the Broadway and Sixth Ave lines in Manhattan and the Queens Blvd. line in Queens. The Planning Commission suggested a 59th Street Tunnel and connection with the LIRR. The Second Ave line is still planned but no funds are available.
1964 The Urban Mass Transit Act is passed making Federal funding available for transit projects.
1965 Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority founded.
1967 $2.5B bond issue for Transportation passed. $1B is for urban transit in the state and $600M is for construction in New York City.
1968 MCTA changed to MTA. Second Ave subway will cost $220 million for a two track line from 34th Street to the Bronx. It would connect with the 63rd Street Tunnel, Central Park line to 57th Street both Sixth Ave and Broadway. Phase II would bring the line down to Water Street near the Battery. On Sept. 20, the Board of Estimate approves a two track line from the Bronx to Water Street, including the 63rd St. connection.
1972 October 27 - Groundbreaking was held at East 103rd St and Second Ave., 68 years to the day after the opening of the IRT.
1996 Sections that had construction activity include three intact sections: Section 5 (Bowery to Chrystie Street), Section 11 (East 99th to East 105th Streets), and Section 13 (East 110th to East 120 Streets). A fourth area, Section 7 (East 2nd to East 9th Streets) had utility relocation work performed, but all excavation was filled in.








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